This week, LDF joined more than a dozen civil rights organizations in authoring a letter urging Congress to incorporate key accountability provisions as it reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The letter offers a number of recommendations to ensure that principles of educational equity won in Brown v. The Board of Education are fulfilled in the ESEA reauthorization. Specifically, the coalition supports the introduction of measures to set high academic standards; improve student achievement and graduation rates; close gaps between student subgroups along race, class, disability and other lines; improve school climate; reduce barriers to educational opportunity; and provide schools with equitable and adequate resources.
For decades, LDF has been a leader in efforts to monitor the federal role in ensuring equal access to quality education. In 1969, just four years after the original enactment of the ESEA, LDF issued a report that revealed the deficiencies in state systems for delivering educational services to poor children. That report, entitled “Title I of the ESEA: Is It Helping Poor Children?”, called for important federal guidance and oversight in education.
Today, LDF still believes that it is imperative to maintain a strong federal role for accountability in education, particularly among student subgroups. This approach is consistent with the core purposes cited in the ESEA’s original adoption in 1965. Ensuring a strong accountability framework in the current ESEA reauthorization will bring us closer to reinforcing those purposes.